The magazine advertisement is slick and shiny with lots of white space. Eye candy. Spectacular homes and somewhat beautiful real estate agents adorn the pages. We are intrigued by the features of each property and shake our heads at the prices at which they are offered. But do those depictions really reflect what we think of as “home?”
As a listing agent, my first task is to minimize some of the “personality” of the home I am about to list. We make it appear as if no one really lives there or if they do, they have the perfect life and home decor.
We strive to make it show like the magazine ads and the furniture catalogs that fill our mailboxes — scrubbing away the dirt and hiding any discord under the rug.
People sell their homes for wonderful reasons — success in a new business or job, retirement, a new partner in life.
They demand a change in space or location to go with their life changes. Moves happen for other reasons, too, including difficult financial situations, death, divorce and illness.
Whatever the reason, we come in and buff and shine, throwing out problems along with the cobwebs and clutter. That is what makes our job so satisfying and why I am so grateful that as an agent I can be an important part of life changes. So when you see those shiny pages with free rooms and squeaky-clean kitchens, remember they once looked very much like your own home and were filled with the same joys and sadness that we all experience at different points in our lives.
This Thanksgiving, look around at the place you call home and be grateful for the comfort and shelter it offers. Maybe someday the home on the shiny page will be yours. If not, the one you have even with the clutter is still very special.
Sue Goodhart is the top-producing agent at McEnearney Associates in Alexandria and is licensed in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Reach her at 202-507-7800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.